The Latest: US denies appeal for Flint disaster declaration

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Posted: Jan 22, 2016 9:05 PM
The Latest: US denies appeal for Flint disaster declaration

DETROIT (AP) — The latest on the Flint water crisis (all times local):

9:05 p.m.

The Obama administration has denied an appeal by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for additional aid for Flint through a disaster declaration, saying the program isn't appropriate for the city's drinking water crisis.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently approved an emergency declaration, which could bring up to $5 million in direct funding to Flint. Federal officials denied declaring a disaster, which could have brought millions more. On Friday, FEMA turned down the state's appeal.

A disaster declaration is mainly for natural disasters.

Snyder says he'll ask that President Barack Obama reconsider awarding money under two other programs. State lawmakers are working to approve $28 million more for Flint.

High lead levels have been detected in Flint's water since the city switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River.

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8:25 p.m.

Michigan's top environmental officer has told his U.S. counterpart the state will comply with an order to ensure safe operation of Flint's drinking water and protect public health. However, he challenges the legality of the federal government's demands.

Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh wrote in a letter Friday to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy that the state will work with her department and city of Flint. But in the response required by Friday, he added, "the state has complied with every recent demand" of the EPA.

He writes the state intends to "fully outline" its "legal and factual concerns with the order."

State water regulators failed to ensure corrosive water from the Flint River was treated to prevent leaching from lead pipes.

A top regional EPA official resigned this week in connection with Flint's lead contamination.

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5:50 p.m.

Two employees at Michigan's Environmental Quality Department have been suspended in connection with Flint's water crisis.

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the actions Friday. Both employees were suspended pending an investigation, in accordance with civil service rules. The workers were not identified.

Snyder has apologized for Flint's lead contamination. The environmental agency's director and communications director resigned last month.

The governor says some agency actions "lacked common sense, and that resulted in this terrible tragedy in Flint."

State water regulators failed to make sure corrosive water from the Flint River was treated to prevent leaching from lead pipes.

A top federal regulator resigned this week in connection with the lead contamination.

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5:30 p.m.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he welcomes the work of an advisory panel that has recommended steps the state should take to get reliable drinking water back to Flint residents.

The recommendations Friday came a day after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the state and city that their efforts so far had failed. The agency ordered them to ensure the safe operation of Flint's drinking water system and the protection of public health.

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force says its recommendations are more detailed and comprehensive than what the EPA ordered.

Snyder says the state will move quickly to determine "the best way to achieve the results."

High levels of lead have been detected in Flint's water since the city switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure.

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2:15 p.m.

An advisory panel to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is recommending steps the state should take to get reliable drinking water back to Flint residents.

The recommendations Friday come a day after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told the state and city that their efforts so far had failed. The agency ordered them to ensure the safe operation of Flint's drinking water system and the protection of public health.

The Flint Water Advisory Task Force says its recommendations are more detailed and comprehensive than what the EPA ordered.

Messages left with Snyder's office and the EPA were not immediately returned.

High levels of lead have been detected in Flint's water since the city switched from the Detroit municipal system and began drawing from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure.